By on July 20, 2020

Shortly after his high-flying escape from Japanese semi-captivity in late 2018, former Renault-Nissan Alliance boss Carlos Ghosn got catty, marveling at what became of those two automakers after they dropped him from the phone directory.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic sinking profits and sales across the globe, Ghosn is pretty sure he knows what’s really to blame for Nissan’s current misfortunes.

As you read last week, Nissan expects its global production to take a 30 percent haircut in 2020. In May, the company released a near-term plan to shrink its global footprint and model range in the interest of stabilizing the overstretched company’s balance sheet.

In February, Nissan recorded its first quarterly loss in more than a decade.

Going forward, the goal of still fresh-faced CEO Makoto Uchida is modest market share and operating margins, with a primary focus on North America, Japan, and China — quite a U-turn from the heady, expansionist Ghosn era.

Still claiming to be the victim of a corporate coup, Ghosn spoke out from his Lebanon refuge, telling France’s Le Parisien newspaper, “There is a market confidence problem in the alliance.”

“Personally, I find the results of Nissan and Renault pathetic. The two companies are looking inwards. There is no longer any real mix of management between Renault and Nissan, but a distrustful distance, “ he said during the interview, per Reuters.

Ghosn, who sought closer integration between the two companies (much to the chagrin of many of their executives) contrasted the share price performance of several big-name automakers with that of Nissan and Renault, which have seen their stock decline anywhere between 55 and 70 percent since his arrest.

On the legal front, Japan desperately wants Ghosn back in its grips, but Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with that country. France would also like to have a word with him. Ghosn said he aims to clear his name while cooperating with  authorities, but a meeting with French prosecutors didn’t go off as requested on July 13th.

“There is a technical obstacle. My passport is in the hands of the attorney general in Lebanon, because Japan has issued an international arrest warrant for me,” Ghosn said. “I also want to be sure that my security is assured and that I am guaranteed freedom of movement.”

[Image: Frederic Legrand/Shutterstock]

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18 Comments on “Meow: Another Double Dose of Schadenfreude From Carlos Ghosn...”


  • avatar
    thornmark

    G grew Nissan, but turned its ware into fodder

    once a company’s product is debased like that, it really never recovers

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      It’s not impossible but it is difficult. It would take better engineering, better design, more attention to qualify manufacturing, and a decade of perseverance to turn things around. Compare Audi’s reputation, when their cars were (falsely) accused of unintended acceleration, with their market position today. That didn’t come easy.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Japanese Nissan management just can’t accept the fact that they suck compared to Renault, much less Honda and Toyota.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    All Carlos Ghosn needs to do to find out why Nissan is in its current state is look in the mirror.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “There is a market confidence problem in the alliance.”

    That’s what happens when you build and sell sh!t.
    They couldn’t manage to sell a pickup with a Cummins in it. WTF?

  • avatar
    aja8888

    This will turn in to another Suzuki and drift away along the horizon. There are too many good car makers out there.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    My first and only new car was a 1994 Nissan Altima that had been sitting on a lot due to its manual transmission. 93k miles and 6 years later I sold it for $11k less than what I paid for it with the only maintenance being tires, oil and 1 brake job.

    This was also during the 240SX, Pulsar and 300ZX days when Nissan was a legit competitor to Honda and Toyota.

    The fall from grace was sad to see real time. Easy to remember how good Nissan cars used to be, but then you see what they are today and you just shake your head.

    • 0 avatar
      mfrank

      My parents had a Datsun 510 and my friends parents had a 200SX growing up. I grew up with Datsun’s being head and shoulders better than Toyota’s and Honda’s. Nissan’s fall from where they were in 1969 relative to the competition to where they are in 2020 relative to the competition is astounding. You really have to place the blame on top management over the last fifty years. I can’t understand why they didn’t realize there was a crisis earlier. I don’t see the current CEO being able to solve Nissan’s problems.

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      Well, find out what the customers want and making sure that’s what they get is a surefire way to ruin your career at Nissan.

      Just ask Mr. K (Yutaka Katayama), the father of Nissan USA, the Datsun 510, 240Z, and many other Nissans (or Datsuns rather) that we remember of fondly. He was too good and too successful, though, and was regarded as a threat by the execs back home. Forced into an early retirement and the Datsun brand that he built up was canceled soon after.

      Machiavellianism is the name of the game there, and Mr. Ghosn made that culture part of his own (and was too good at for his own good).

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Carlos Ghosn owns the disastrous state of Nissan as it is today. Three to 5 years from now the accountability will belong to today’s leadership.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Theres a reason nissan went bankrupt in 1998. It was Renault lead by Carlos who saved them then. If he wasnt dead set on marketshare at all cost in the past decade they wouldnt be where they are now and wed have a healthy happy nissan like we did in 2010.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    “Er, Steph?” Throws pebbles at window. “Are you there?”

    Ghosn was captured in Nov 2018. He escaped a mere six and a half months ago just before this past New Year, so very, very late 2019. Might enhance your rep as an auto journo to get the little things right.

    I read this story yesterday on Reuters. No doubt the running around in xenophobic circles and committee speak of the Nissan brass since they deposed Ghosn, all to the utter amazement of the Renault execs, remind thinking people of the way Nissan were in 1998/99. Out of their tiny bureaucratic minds, and lost.

    Ghosn wasn’t the wonder guy of 2000 anymore, but sure as hell Nissan wouldn’t be in as deep a godawful mess as they’re in now, if those Japanese geniuses had toed the line or tried a compromise. But they went for the jugular and in so doing cut themselves up pretty badly as well on the backswing.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    We have a 2013 Rogue and it was given to us 3 years ago by a family member so all we had to pay was title and license fees. It was still too steep a price to pay for the piece of crap.

  • avatar
    Schurkey

    When I heard that Nissan and Renault were in bed together, I knew Nissan was gonna get screwed.

    You’d have thought they’d have learned from American Motors. There’s a success story for the ages.

    Apparently, Nissan executives are every bit as dumb as Ford and Chrysler execs.

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